cover of book

Stanzas: Word and Phantasm in Western Culture
by Georgio Agamben
University of Minnesota Press, 1992
Paper: 978-0-8166-2038-8 | Cloth: 978-0-8166-2037-1
Library of Congress Classification CB245.A3313 1993
Dewey Decimal Classification 302.2

Stanzas is a fascinating blend of philology, medieval physics and psychology, the psychoanalysis of toys, and contemporary linguistics and philosophy. In this unique work, Giorgio Agamben attempts to reconfigure the epistemological foundation of Western culture. He rereads Freud and Saussure to discover the impossibility of metalanguage and of synthesis that could be reflected in the transparency of signs. There is no "superior language" that can read the obscure scenes of the unconscious, and the "symbol" is always the return of the repressed in an improper signifier.

This impossibility leads Agamben to the problem of representation. He argues that because language is the locus of the production and storage of phantasms, all real objects are fractured by phantasmic itineraries that in turn divide poetry and philosophy, joy and knowledge.

Giorgio Agamben teaches philosophy at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris and at the University of Macerata in Italy. He is the author of Language and Death (1991), The Coming Community (1993), and Means without End (2000).
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